Compressed Gas Cylinders
Compressed gas cylinders come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Pressurized and compressed gas cylinders should never be placed in the trash.
The most common compressed gas most of us use is propane. These cylinders include the 20-pound cylinders for BBQ grilles and the 1-pound cylinders used for camping.
Using propane is generally safe as long as you follow recommended handling practices and common sense. However, putting cylinders in the trash is a dangerous and potentially disastrous idea. Because of the way garbage is handled, transported, and processed gas cylinders of any kind are potentially explosive when they are disposed in the trash. Propane and flammable gas cylinders are especially dangerous when mishandled and have caused injuries and deaths.
For more information on the safe usage and disposal of propane gas cylinders, see the following:
- Propane Gas Grill Safety Tips (PDF) from the National Propane Gas Association
- LPG Citizens Guide (PDF) developed by the Pollution Prevention Coalition of Palm Beach County
Other Compressed Gases
- Aerosol cans are also pressurized cylinders. In addition to containing flammable propellant they often contain toxic materials. Empty, depressurized cans may be placed in the trash if necessary.
- Refrigerant, or "freon" cylinders are used mainly by licensed automotive, residential, and commercial air conditioning companies. However, smaller 1-pound containers are also available for retail sale. It is a violation of federal law to purposely release ozone depleting refrigerants into the atmosphere.
- Helium tanks for filling balloons are also becoming increasingly popular. Although helium is not flammable the pressurized cylinder still presents a physical hazard.
Commercial Cylinder Disposal
The SWA will accept only empty containers for disposal (not the gas). Empty cylinders from commercial sources are accepted only at the SWA's North County Disposal Site on North Jog Road in West Palm Beach and may not be delivered to the transfer stations.
Some scrap yards and metal recyclers may also accept empty cylinders.
Cylinders must have the valves removed and the cylinder open to the atmosphere. Sealed cylinders will not be accepted. Generators of the waste are expected to comply will all applicable environmental laws covering the disposition of the containers' contents.
Commercial entities should contact SWA Hazardous Waste Services at 561-687-1100 to schedule delivery. All cylinders will be inspected.
The Solid Waste Authority will not accept any load of refuse containing commercial quantities of gas cylinders. Mixed loads containing commercial cylinders will be refused.